Michigan Mile celebrates fitness
By Shauna Stocken
Sparrow Hospital and Playmakers fitness store teamed together again this year to offer kids and families a day of exercise and fun in downtown Lansing.
Saturday, June 2, marked over 20 years of the Sparrow Michigan Mile and Kidsprint. The event started as the Michigan Mile for adults, then gradually transformed into an event for kids, according to Wellness Coordinator Katie Hubbard of Sparrow Health and Wellness.
“We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone regardless of ability level,” Hubbard said. “Our finish-line volunteers celebrate the first-place finisher every bit as much as they do the child who completes the mile in a wheelchair.”
The Michigan Mile and Kidsprint races are capstone events to promote the “Feelin’ Good Mileage Club,” a seven-week program for Lansing area schools. The program is designed to motivate and reward kids for running during the school day.
Hubbard shared that this year, 18,770 children were enrolled in the program, sparking plenty of interested for the main event.
Shannon Branstner’s 7-year-old daughter ran the mile for her second year and prepared with the help of the “Feelin’ Good Mileage Club.”
“We do a lot of Lansing events,” Branstner said. “I’m a semi-retired runner. I just want to keep (my daughter) into exercise and healthy and fit … I like the event because it’s in Lansing. It’s involved with the stadium district. And it is teaching her the value of exercise and, yes, non-competitive exercise.”
Pre-enrollment for the race cost $8. Participants received a race day T-shirt, snacks, a drawstring bag and a medal for completing the race.
Race day started at 9 a.m. at Cooley Law School Stadium for the oldest heat of runners, ages 12 and 13. Additional races for those 11 down 3 years of age continued until 11:20 a.m.
“I’m always so touched by this event,” said Jann Nestell, a Playmakers employee and fitness coach. “I look at the different sizes and shapes and all the different kids and everything, and it’s just so wonderful that they all want to be involved.”
The excitement of the day didn’t end once runners crossed the finish line and received their medals.
“It’s probably the only race where you’ll find inflatables, clowns, face painting and race tattoos available for participants free of charge,” Hubbard said.
Participating in her second year was 7-year-old Summer Tsacas, who ran in the Kidsprint this year with her 4-year-old brother.
“This year was more fun for me,” Summer said. “I got to crawl through a bounce house maze, and I like to do it because everybody’s a champion.”
Learn more and get involved for 2019 by visiting the website, http://www.sparrow.org/michiganmile/